DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Londonderry

February 20, 2014

Residents speak out on state of town forest

LONDONDERRY — One resident’s crusade for a forest cleanup did not sit well with some residents at the town’s recent deliberative session.

Many want the forested area near the Town Common to remain intact.

Kent Allen is spearheading a petitioned warrant article on next month’s ballot to ask voters to give control and management of the 13-acre town forest to Town Manager Kevin Smith.

That would get a cleanup process going, Allen said.

“It’s just a mess,” Allen said of the forest that abuts not only the Common but also lies near apple orchards and a historic Mammoth Road cemetery. “This would allow for a cleanup and public use of this land.”

By giving control to Smith, Allen said, the project could begin and the forest is in dire need of some sprucing up.

Allen has come before town groups for about six months, trying to get a plan in place for a forest project to help keep the town’s wooded property clean and safe.

He wants to enlist the help of volunteers like local Scouts and other interested residents to get the job done.

But many in town questioned how to get started on the cleaning project and just who would be responsible for the work.

Conservation Commission members said at earlier meetings they didn’t want Allen’s project to go much beyond the trail area in the forest as it may disrupt valuable animal habitat, including the underbrush around fallen trees.

Town councilors also gave input over the last several months, including concerns over volunteers, safety and liability when work is done clearing brush or cutting trees.

The Town Common already falls under the town manager’s jurisdiction. The Conservation Commission currently takes much management and responsibility for what happens in the forest.

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